It has been our experience that some of the best spots to camp in the United States are some of the least known areas. , Great Basin National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Capital Reef National Park are some examples. Add to that list North Cascades National Park. This place is simply awesome. It does not have all the major attractions of a Yosemite, Yellowstone, or Glacier NP, but what it does have is some really great campgrounds and hiking. This is definitely not a drive through park, this is a hikers park. We stayed at Colonial Creek Campground. It borders Diablo Lake, which is a glacier fed lake complete with the mineralization to make the water ice cold, crystal clear, and turquoise at the same time. This was up there with one of the top campgrounds that we had ever stayed at. For $16 a night we had an awesome view of Diablo Lake. We fished, hiked and kayaked for three days.
This is a remote area, which is a good thing. It let us unplug from cell phones, Internet, and people. We never felt overwhelmed by crowds or tourists. This park is simply not on the loop of the more popular national parks of the west. When we schedule these trips, I always build in “fluff time” which are days where we can adjust our plans. We used up a day of fluff time here and stayed an extra night to enjoy our surroundings. You can always tell the special places based on noise. When you get to a special place, everyone acts as though they were in a library. Voices are quiet, and even the young kids act like they are in church. This was such a place. The campground was alive with activity, but you never heard it.We were by far the largest rig in the park. Most people camp in tents and small trailers here, yet there were sites available for bigger rigs like ours. When we arrived one of the park rangers told is that we were the biggest rig she had ever seen here which seemed strange, but we were in fact the biggest motorhome here. It was definitely a tight squeeze getting into our spot and it reminded me why we got as small of a Class a motorhome that you can get.
We had a great site but it was across the street from the really great sites that had direct lake access. We decided to solve the problem by buying another tent only site across the street. There we set up a sub camp and a couple of tents. The boys slept in the tents until we were warned by a park ranger about some serious bear activity in the campground. Normally this is not a big deal, but we were now in grizzly bear territory. I am confident in my boys ability to fend off your average black bear, but Grizzly Bears are a whole different animal. It was not a risk that we were willing to take, so after one night in the tents, they rejoined us in the camper. We have been on such a fast pace over the past 12 days, it was really great to relax for a few days in such an epic location.
Pro Tip: Arrive mid week. This place fills up fast on the weekend and there are no reservations. For a close by campground with reservations check out Newlahem.